Warning to benefit fraudsters
FRAUDSTERS were today warned they would be prosecuted after a single mum of three appeared before court for illegally claiming benefits.Angela West, of Adastral Close, Felixstowe, pleaded guilty to benefit fraud offences committed against Suffolk Coastal council.
FRAUDSTERS were today warned they would be prosecuted after a single mum of three appeared before court for illegally claiming benefits.
Angela West, of Adastral Close, Felixstowe, pleaded guilty to benefit fraud offences committed against Suffolk Coastal council.
Magistrates at Ipswich gave her a six-month conditional discharge.
The court was told West had defrauded the authority of more than £1,500 over a seven month period.
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She had started work at a care home but failed to report this employment to the council's housing benefits section.
Magistrates told West they were imposing an unusually lenient sentence given her previous good character and difficult domestic circumstances.
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She was also ordered to pay the council £50 in costs, and will also have to repay Suffolk Coastal in full the money she fraudulently received.
Chris Slemmings, cabinet member for housing said: "These offences came to light following an investigation by officers from the Suffolk Coastal's counter fraud unit, which is currently examining a number of claims, many of which are likely to come before the criminal courts.
"This is the 11th successful prosecution brought by Suffolk Coastal since April this year, and should be a warning to others about the seriousness with which we take fraud cases and the high probability that they will be caught.
"We will continue to use the law fairly but firmly against anyone who is trying to cheat the system.
"We are working closely with other Government departments and we are becoming more successful in detecting frauds, and the courts are backing up our efforts."
He said it was important people receiving benefits should notify the council on 01394 444838 if there is a change in their circumstances - this can sometimes mean they receive more, rather than less, benefit.
There is also a Fraud Hotline residents can call confidentially and report suspected benefit frauds on 01394 444444, available 24 hours a day, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org